I chose epilepsy as the topic for my major final year project. My aim was to highlight the general lack of knowledge in the UK about epilepsy and the problems this causes sufferers.
A seriously disabled Hoxton man claims he’s unable to obtain the benefits he feels entitled to, as his local Jobcentre insist he’s fit for work.
Jay Pacer, 37, a scaffold worker from Arden Estate, was born with two different curves in his spine, causing him constant back-pain, a condition known as kyphoscoliosis.
Unemployed for seven years, Mr Pacer claimed incapacity benefit until September when, due to Government changes in the benefits system, his benefits stopped.
“I’d had a full medical and passed my Personal Capability Assessment (PCA), letting me claim incapacity benefit from Hoxton Street Jobcentre,” he said.
“Then, because of changes, I had to be reassessed but failed. I may wear my pain well but just because I can touch my toes, doesn’t mean I’m fit to work.”
To look at, Mr Pacer doesn’t seem disabled but his condition means his symptoms are difficult for anyone but specialists to measure.
“I had another assessment by my doctor three weeks ago and [have] done everything the Jobcentre asked, but haven’t received any benefits since 22 September.
“I was told to send the forms to Glasgow but now they can’t find them. I’ve been in there loads of times but it’s still not sorted and I’m surviving on air. If I don’t get help soon I’ll need to turn to crime just to survive.”
The situation illustrates criticisms of Government benefit changes by disability rights campaigners, including Disability Alliance and SCOPE.
Hoxton Street Jobcentre refused to comment when asked about Mr Pacer’s case.